MOONLODGE (1990 – 2000)
Kane has said that she “hoped that Moonlodge will be a part of the healing of our people. We have survived tremendous losses with a sense of humour, dignity and honour. We are capable of determining our own future and that of our children.”.
Agnes is a girl who was removed from her home and family by Child Welfare government services. She grows up in a series of foster homes, away from the warmth and support of her family and her cultural community. Popular media depicting Aboriginal people both fascinate and disgust Agnes. In the 1960s she joins many others hitchhiking across America, and in that journey she discovers the authentic voice inside her that had been silenced, but never lost. Inspired by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women, who continue to encourage and guide her, Margo Kane created Moonlodge to honour mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers and to motivate others on their journeys home. In creating her one-woman show, Kane drew on the stories and personal experiences of children who were taken away from their families and familiar surroundings in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with no explanation by the Children’s Aid Department.
“Kane’s storytelling is innately theatrical, her superb physicalization explanation of events and the colourful characters she meets on her journey places this production at the very top echelon of the solo-performer format. The 90-minute show has heart, charm and finesse, alongside a truth that cuts deep.” Festival of the Dreaming
Since its premiere at the Women in View Festival in 1990, Moonlodge has toured throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia to much acclaim. It was adapted for radio and published in 1994.
Read Reviews of Moonlodge:
Brevity and personality is the soul of Moonlodge
All In A Day – CBC Radio
Humour helps to heal the past
The Power of Great Story-telling – Sydney Morning Herald
“For me, The River-Home is a metaphor for the ongoing, ever-flowing existence of First People’s traditions – their survival is dependent upon their relationship with the rivers, the land, and all of creation…We hope the images and symbolic physical work serves to remind each of us that we are part of that River of life, that cycle of birth and death and ultimately, transformation.” – Margo Kane.
The River-Home is a full-length, interdisciplinary performance piece. Created and directed by Margo Kane, it aims to capture the deep personal and community sense of place which Canada’s Fraser River specifically, and waterways generally, hold for Aboriginal peoples. The physical performing style combines ritual, oration, movement, video and soundscape in a non-linear manner that evokes the rivers of memory and takes the audience on a journey along the river and ultimately home. It is a contemporary Aboriginal style of performance rooted in traditional Native performance and informed by Western theatrical techniques.
The story follows a fisherman’s daughter who, in grieving the loss of her brother, leaves her home behind. She finds herself alone in a world outside of her community longing for the familiar fishing, feasting and dancing. What she senses is the call of the River-Home and of her people actively summoning her, and this awakens her instinctive urge to return to face her fears and hopes in the place where her people dwell.
The River-Home presents its message primarily with images and stories. Thematically, the piece speaks of the need to share our resources. The central image is one of fierce determination. The performance creates multiple images (some playful, some deeply ritualistic) of salmon battling enormous odds, swimming upriver to return to their home and of the determination that keeps generations of coastal fishermen working to support themselves and their families from these fish. This central motif echoes through the entire piece informing movement sequences that evoke fishing, life along the river, the past, and the sprint of the salmon themselves.
The piece also celebrates the beauty of the river and of the natural environment with video of amazingly beautiful locations and movement images that speak eloquently of the beauty of life in the British Columbia coastal forest.
CONFESSIONS OF AN INDIAN COWBOY (2001-2006)
Confessions of an Indian Cowboy is a probing, endearing and sometimes amusing look at the history of contact between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and at the communities that exist in Canada as a result of this contact. This one-woman musical show tells stories of the Indian and Métis, peoples of mixed heritage who have been pushed aside and ignored for well over a century.
A master storyteller, singer and dancer, Margo Kane plays the roles of several distinct characters as she explores how the apparent social and cultural contradictions inherent in being both “Indian” and “Cowboy” are reconciled. The characters share their personal stories, insights and humour, informing audiences about that unique part of their collective history. Margo Kane moves effortlessly from pathos to humour to rousing music and song. Her one-woman performance is perfectly matched by three top-notch musicians: guitarist Barrie Nighswander, percussionist Joseph ‘Pepe’ Danza and fiddler Doug Thordarson.
When presented as part of a showcase in June 2001, the response from Aboriginal people, who heard their own stories, was powerful and even overwhelming. Full Circle was touched by the resonance felt by people of Aboriginal background who attended the performances–people who too seldom experience the arts. Non-Aboriginal Canadians who see Confessions will glean a greater appreciation and a better understanding of the experiences of Métis peoples who embrace the intermingling of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures.
“[Kane suggests] that the act of storytelling can provide a path of self-worth and a sense of community – whether we’re First Nations, white, or in-between. And the success of her show suggests there is a considerable wisdom in such a philosophy.” Adrian Chamberlain, Victoria Times Colonist.
Read Reviews of Confessions of an Indian-Cowboy:
Confessions of an Indian/Cowboy
First show in Sid Spirit series receives high praise – Comox Valley Record
Coming to the Port Theatre
Between two myths
THE REZ SHOW (2002 – 2006)
The Rez ShowThe Rez Show is a performance project celebrating the rich diversity of Aboriginal experience through collaboration of community with professional artistic leadership – stories, dance, song and images from our Aboriginal communities.
Click Here for The Rez Show Original Press Release
O’wet (oh-wee): a verb colloquially used to denote propelling a canoe. O’wet is also connected to a shaman’s canoe ride to the land of the dead to retrieve a lost soul.
Lost Lagoon: A body of water in between Xway Xway (Stanley Park) and downtown Vancouver that once flowed in and out freely with the tides and now stands land locked.
O’wet / Lost Lagoon was originally commissioned by Full Circle: First Nations Performance as part of a larger work, and benefited from the work of the Full Circle Aboriginal Ensemble, including director Margo Kane, dramaturg Michael Springate, and Associate Dramaturg and Researcher Kwasuun Sarah Vedan.
Ow’et/Lost Lagoon is a solo performance about reclamation and change that weaves real-life stories with the visceral experience of a spiritual canoe journey. Written and performed by Quelemia Sparrow it grapples with the identity of a mixed-race aboriginal woman in a present-day, colonized world.
Writer/Performer – Quelemia Sparrow
Director – Marisa Emma Smith | Dramaturg – Heidi Taylor | Set/Props Design – Shizuka Kai
Lighting Design – Itai Erdal | Media Design – Candelario Andrade
Sound Design and Original Composition – Sandy Scofield |Assistant Director – Tai Amy Grauman
Additional Community Engagement Activities:
- Free Performance on June 17 @ 7:30PM at Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (1607 E Hastings St)
- PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN Performance on June 21st for National Aboriginal Day at the Firehall Arts Centre